We followed the story of the Westboro Baptist Church as families split and children were brainwashed into picketing funerals and bashing homosexuals.
During that time, we interviewed more than a dozen members of the reviled group, including some of the only members not related by blood, the Drains. They welcomed us into their homes and gave us access to 17 years of home video footage. In return, we produced an unbiased look into the lives of one of America’s most despised organizations.
Watch part 2 here: http://bit.ly/Brainwashed-by-WBC-2
A Guy From Westboro Baptist Church (of “God Hates Fags” fame) Wrote Us Record Reviews
After Westboro Baptist Church’s big Radiohead protest last week, we talked tunes with the church’s marketing guy, Steve “God Hates Fags” Drain. We realized early on in our chat that Drain was like the Alex Ross of the religious right—his music sensibility was surprisingly discerning. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tap into some of his divine music criticism and share it with all of you. So, we sent him a few links to some of our favorite new music videos and asked him to evaluate these morally repugnant songs on spiritual and musical grounds. He had the awesome idea of rating the tracks with a nifty picket sign scale, one picket sign being the least morally bankrupt and five picket signs being the absolute worst.
Here is what the Kansas man of girth and taste had to say about popular songs:
IGGY AZALEA - MY WORLD
I don’t know what’s going on with her. I know we get desperate and we’re starved for music and performers, but damn. Back when I was a kid, we never saw who our rock and roll idols were unless they put themselves on the album cover. We didn’t care when we found out that Jeff Lynne is ugly as sin and Tom Petty was even uglier, because we liked their music first. Today, the music industry has gotten so that raw musical talent, composition, and singing skills often take the backseat. This isn’t even well-produced. I could listen to a lot of songs that Dr. Dre produced, and it doesn’t matter if I don’t like the lyrics or the style of the rapping, because Dr. Dre knows how to put together a song. But with Iggy Azalea, I just don’t know what the attraction is. She’s not even good-looking. She’s a nasty-lookin’ thing. She has a radio face. She can’t even rap. There’s just nothing there.
Musical: 5 Picket Signs
Spiritual: 5 Picket Signs
GRIMES – OBLIVION
Musically, I would call this Flock of Seagulls meets Tiffany. I can tell she’s trying to be a little “cultural” and a little “underground.” Lyrically, it looks like somebody killed her lover and she feels really alone. She is playing around with some moral concepts here that aren’t downright filthy, but it’s still morally bankrupt and not exciting enough to float my boat. And she’s Canadian. God hates Canada. Did you know that Canada actually has a law in the books called the “Fred Phelps Law”? They’ve banned us from preaching in the country. There was a guy named Svend Robinson, a legislator in Canada, who proposed the bill. After that guy introduced the legislation, he got arrested and convicted on shoplifting charges. He stole a diamond ring from a jewelry store. So yeah, there’s a little interesting side-note for you: God hates Canada.
Musical: 4 Picket Signs
Spiritual: 3 Picket Signs
Arguing about music is one of my favorite pastimes. So, when I heard the regularly inflammatory Westboro Baptist Church was weighing in on the Great Radiohead Debate, I jumped at the opportunity to talk shop with them. Do they think they’ve sold out? Has the mystical glimmer left Thom’s lazy eye? Well, it turns out that I, a fornicating atheist black dude who writes for a magazine called VICE and lives in a modern version of Sodom, and Steve Drain, a Southerner who does media outreach and marketing for Westboro (one of the most offensive political-religious groups ever), have a little in common when it comes to the postmodern English rock band: We both think OK Computer was the shit, and it just hasn’t been the same ever since.
Steve joined up with Westboro about 11 years ago after traveling to Kansas from Florida to shoot a documentary on them. He’s pretty confident in his interpretation of all things related to J.C., and he speaks very loud whenever he’s talking about God or gays or purgatory. But all-and-all, he was a nice guy. And he’s a fan of Led Zeppelin. Who can hate on that?
Why hate Radiohead?
It’s not that there is a problem with Radiohead that doesn’t exist with other groups. Radiohead just puts themselves out there as a “thinky,” deep band.
What’s wrong with that?
In an offhand manor they kind of reject every standard of god as being archaic and not worthy of moral consideration. Some bands are good time bands—Radiohead isn’t that. They teach the youth of America that the standards of God don’t mean anything and that they are free to oppose them.
Really? They say that? I often have a hard time figuring out what the fuck they’re talking about. What do you hear in the music?
So God says it’s not OK to be gay. Radiohead says it’s OK to be gay. God says no divorce, no re-marriage. But Radiohead won’t preach that truth. God Almighty says thou shall not kill. But where’s Radiohead in all this? They think of themselves as voice of authority for the youth of America, but where are they on these issues?
OK, Radiohead is a no-go. What kind of stuff are you guys rocking at the WBC?
Well, I listen to Radiohead.
Of course I do. At some level you have to be able to separate the art from the artist. Everybody’s got to do that. We’re music lovers at the church. I listen to Radiohead, Audioslave, Band of Skulls. I listen to lots of good stuff.
So, what’s the problem?
But the point here is, when these musicians come to town that put themselves off as a voice of moral authority and yet reject the standards of God for a more bohemian outlook, we’re going to preach about it.
Where do you think Radiohead is spiritually?
The guys that make up the band Radiohead, they are walking in the dim light of their own sparks. They are groping around moral darkness. And we’re out there with the only remedy for that.
Aren’t you a hypocrite for listening to Radiohead and protesting Radiohead?
No. Not at all. Haven’t you ever watched a movie that you enjoyed but then you found out that one of the stars did something in the moral realm as reprehensible?